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Miami Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

How can one locate an immigrant in ICE detention?

Learning that a relative has been taken into detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be alarming. When the family is unable to find out where their loved one is being held, their alarm can turn into desperation and fear. With the incoming administration promising little mercy in the enforcement of U.S. immigration law, many Florida families may find themselves in this harrowing situation.

ICE maintains an online detainee locator system which families can use to find an immigrant who is being detained. It is important for family members to have certain information at hand when using the system.

Damages recoverable in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit

Under Florida law, when a person's negligence or wrongful conduct causes another person's death, the decedent's personal representative may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit for the benefit of the decedent's estate and certain surviving relatives. Each of the decedent's survivors can recover damages for loss of the decedent's support and services from the date of the injury to the date of death, and future support -- reduced to present value -- from the date of death forward.

In addition to loss of support and services, survivors in specified relationships to the decedent can recover additional damages. If the decedent was married, his or her surviving spouse can also recover damages for mental pain and suffering, and loss of companionship and protection. Minor children of the decedent can recover damages for mental pain and suffering and the loss of their parent's companionship, guidance and instruction.

Florida undocumented immigrants can be deported for minor crimes

Many undocumented immigrants in Florida live in fear that a brush with the law may lead to deportation. Unfortunately, their fear is justified. For those with prior convictions, even a minor offense like a traffic violation can lead to incarceration in a detention center and the initiation of deportation proceedings.

A recent news story told of a 31-year-old undocumented immigrant, a mother of three, who was detained in a traffic stop in Arkansas. The officer who pulled her over found she had an outstanding citation for failure to yield. More than a decade ago, as a juvenile, she was convicted of writing bad checks and served a few months in boot camp. She is now imprisoned in a Louisiana detention facility. She expects to be deported to El Salvador, a country she fled when she was five years old. She describes herself as totally Americanized. She doesn't know a single person in El Salvador and has limited knowledge of the language.

How will Trump's presidency affect immigrants?

As the days inch closer to President-elect Donald Trump's Inauguration Day, many immigrants throughout the country are becoming increasingly uneasy, and are left with much uncertainty about the status of their life and future in the United States with Trump in office. Throughout his campaign, Trump used illegal immigrants and their status in the U.S. in an unflattering manner and used the subject of immigration law as a rallying cry to gain support from voters less sympathetic to the plight of immigrants.

Defective industrial equipment can lead to injury or death

Florida workers in factories, power plants, refineries and similar industrial settings face safety risks on a daily basis that most other workers can only imagine. The machinery and other equipment industrial employees work with can cause catastrophic injury or death if it is defectively designed or is not accompanied by adequate safety warnings. Workers can be, and sometimes are, crushed, burned, maimed or killed by the machinery in their workplaces.

When a workplace tragedy is caused by defective industrial equipment, the injured worker -- or the family of a deceased worker -- may wish to investigate the possibility of seeking damages through a product liability lawsuit. Under the law, if equipment is unreasonably dangerous when put to its intended use, the manufacturer, designer or installer of the equipment may be held liable. Industrial equipment can be unreasonably dangerous due to a design defect, a manufacturing defect or an insufficient warning of the inherent risks.

USCIS can waive ineligibility for a visa or green card

For many immigrants living in Florida, the path to U.S. citizenship or permanent residency begins with a visa application. As we discussed in an earlier post, there are many reasons an application for a U.S. visa could be denied. These include health reasons, conviction of certain crimes or a perceived threat to national security. Similarly, an application for legal permanent resident status -- a green card -- can be denied for any number of reasons.

Under some circumstances, individuals who have been deemed ineligible for a visa, green card, adjustment of status or other immigration benefit can obtain a waiver of the grounds of their ineligibility. The ineligible applicant can apply for a waiver by submitting Form I-601 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS.) Whether the USCIS will grant the waiver will depend on the facts of the individual case.

Can a U.S. citizen in Florida help a relative get a green card?

Many U.S. citizens in Florida have family members overseas who would like to come to the U.S. and become permanent residents. U.S. immigration law allows U.S. citizens to sponsor their immediate relatives for legal permanent resident status, often referred to as a green card. Immediate relatives are defined to include the citizen's spouse; parents and siblings if the citizen is over age 21; and the citizen's married or unmarried children.

Who is liable for illness due to toxic exposure in the workplace?

When a Florida resident suffers injury or illness due to a toxic exposure, it is essential to identify who is legally responsible. Toxic exposure can occur just about anywhere. A significant number of cases arise in the workplace, when employees are exposed to dangerous industrial chemicals, cleaning solvents and other substances.

When the exposure occurs in the workplace, the victim will often blame the employer. In most circumstances, however, the employee's only recourse against the employer will be through Florida's workers' compensation system. The advantage of a workers' compensation claim is that the worker is not required to prove negligence or fault on the part of the employer. The disadvantage is that the compensation recoverable is quite limited.

Legal help for those seeking U.S. citizenship

For those in Florida who hope to become U.S. citizens, the naturalization process can appear mysterious and daunting. An applicant may be unsure if he or she is eligible for citizenship, and the forms and paperwork can be confusing. And some will wonder if something in their past, like an old criminal conviction, will dash their hopes.

At the law firm of Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli & Pratt P.A., our immigration lawyers have decades of experience helping people with every aspect of immigration law, including citizenship. We can help an applicant navigate every stage of the naturalization process, from determining eligibility, to filing the necessary paperwork, through the citizenship interview and tests. We do everything possible to make the process as smooth and uncomplicated as we can for our clients.

41-year-old man, an immigrant to U.S. at age 3, faces deportation

Many immigrants to the United States, including many in the Miami area, came here as children or infants. Some were brought by their parents, and some were adopted from overseas by U.S. couples. These children have attended American schools, made friends in America, grown up in America and started careers here. Many of them have no memory at all of their original homelands. Any some of them may be unaware that they are not U.S. citizens.

Under current U.S. immigration law, a situation like this has the potential to become tragic. Such a tragedy is playing out right now in the case of a 41-year-old man who has lived in the United States since his Korean mother put him up for adoption at age three. He was adopted by a U.S. couple who abused and abandoned him. When he tried to break into the home of his adoptive parents to take some of his belongings, he was arrested and convicted of burglary. Later in life he was convicted of assault and unlawful possession of a gun.

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Our firm is a recognized leader in immigration law and litigation. We handle the spectrum from family and employment-based visas to deportation defense and immigration appeals. Founding partner Ira Kurzban authored the Immigration Law Sourcebook, widely used by immigration lawyers, judges and government officials as the authoritative field reference.

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